Over the last five years, training budgets have either remained flat or experienced nominal growth, challenging learning and development (L&D) leaders to do more with less. But in 2017 something unexpected happened — overall training expenditures by U.S. companies increased significantly, by 33 percent.

2017 Training Expenditures - 10 year trend

Source: Training Magazine Training Industry Report

In its annual Training Industry Report, Training magazine found that this substantial jump in training expenditures was primarily spent on travel, facilities, equipment and other resources that did not include staff payroll or spending on outside products and services. In other words, companies appear to be spending that new budget on running more on-site training activities.

But is spending that extra money on plane tickets, conference suites, and new projectors going to have a sustainable impact on learning in an organization?

Probably not. Investing in on-site training may produce a bump in results (holding more sessions will, as a rule, help more employees take part in training initiatives), but as history has shown, on-location training is difficult to scale. Even if 2017’s increased budgets are the new norm, learning and development teams already won’t be able to reach any more employees next year than they did this year — and that’s even before considering that the cost of on-site logistics (especially travel and location costs) tends to rise each year.

There are two systemic challenges virtually every learning and development team faces today:

  • First, organizations are growing, both in terms of headcount and locations. L&D teams must find a way to train more people in more places every year.
  • And second, the optimal length of a training activity is shrinking. The once-traditional day-long training event — and increasingly, even the standard two- to four-hour instructor-led classroom session — are falling in popularity as employees seek out shorter, microlearning-style materials.

In the face of these challenges, budget increases can instead be used to help businesses scale training efforts. Learning tools and technologies can help L&D teams enable continual learning throughout the organization — even if budgets decrease in the future.

With the right video training software, for example, one regional on-site training for managers can be streamed live and recorded for the same cohort in other regions and locations, as well as for new managers hired on after the event took place. And any instructor-led training can be presented virtually, on-demand to all employees across the globe, without spending extra budget on travel and facilities.

Here are four other ways companies can allocate their increased training budgets to support long-term learning at scale.

4 Ways To Make Your Training Budgets Go Further

1. Standardize New Hire Training

A structured onboarding process with well-planned documentation and a library of video training modules can not only help get new employees up to speed faster, but also ensures new hires get complete and consistent training. Whether you are onboarding seasonal hires at a retail chain or filling one open position at a technology company, standardizing your onboarding process has the potential to reduce the training resources your spend on onboarding over time.

Learn how video can enhance your employee onboarding process >

2. Empower Subject Matter Experts Through Social Learning

90 percent of what employees learn at work happens through personal and shared experiences with colleagues in informal training settings — often referred to as social learning. By making knowledge shared among employees more fluid and discoverable, you take pressure off busy trainers while helping knowledge spread further than would be possible simply via one-on-one conversations or small meetings.

Read more about one of the most powerful tools for social learning >

3. Create Self-Paced Soft Skills Training Modules

Nearly every company today is working to reduce so-called “soft skills” gaps among employees, such as communication skills, project management skills, and more. Too often, however, these lessons are taught during days-long workshops where dozens of skills are taught all at once. That delivery method is not only expensive, however, but its been shown to be a poor performer as well — employees simply can’t retain all those skills when introduced all at once. That’s why more and more companies are developing self-paced video-based training modules — playlists of short microlearning videos — to more effectively reduce these (and other) skills gaps at a lower overall cost.

Learn more about how microlearning helps close soft skills gaps >

4. Make Leadership Development Training Accessible In The Cloud

Making the move to manager is a big transition, and most people don’t fully understand the nuances of leading other people without some guidance. Not everyone will succeed — new managers fail 30 to 60 percent of the time.

Facing such a challenge, it’s no surprise that management training and leadership development is one area where companies invest a lot of resources, including boot camps, retreats, mentor programs, and more. Yet all of this information can be overwhelming when presented all at once, especially when the subject matter is new to someone. That’s why companies are increasingly recording leadership training programs and making them available in the cloud online. By recording the training events and materials you’re already delivering, L&D teams can make it easy for employees to replay lessons as needed, and even to keyword search for specific key concepts when they need them most.

Read more about supporting leadership training with on-demand video >

Interested In Investing Your Extra Training Budget In Scalable, Video-Based Learning Technology?

Panopto’s enterprise video platform for employee training makes it easy to record, share, search and stream video to help you scale learning throughout your organization. Contact our team for a free 30-day trial today to learn more.

Published: December 14, 2017